What are the steps in the strategic management process?

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SMP, which stands for Strategic Management Process is an intervention aimed to implement a plan of action. Each step of the process interacts with the other and, all together, they work as a jigsaw; this means that, altogether, the steps are dependant on each other.

The first step is to gather all the information regarding the organization in question: what makes it work, what affects its productivity, who are the individuals that work in there, its location, etc; it is basically a collection of all the internal and external variables that cause any effect on the organization. Since this is a basic scanning of the environment of the organization, the name of this first step is Environmental Scanning.

The second step is to determine the weaknesses or improvements that can be made. This information will come straight from the data provided by the environmental scan. For example, if the scan finds that the agency is spending too much money on a specific item (say, copy paper), then a plan of action should be planned to fix that. This step is appropriately called the strategy formulation.

Now that areas of improvement have been identified, and a plan is in place, the implementation of the plan occurs. It is not as simple as it sounds, because every individual within the organization must be willing to follow the strategy; it is imperative to work as a "whole" and not on an individual choice basis. Hence, this step is called the implementation period.

The last step is NOT the final step, as SMP is ongoing and continuous. As soon as one thing is corrected, another environmental scan should again be conducted to ensure that whatever other areas need help are fixed. However, prior to this, it is important to know whether the strategy implementation period actually worked. Hence, after the implementation, the organization must conduct different appraisals, surveys, and assessments that can help determine if the problem is solved. This step is called the evaluation period. It is a type of after-action report that shows whether the intervention is any good.

Again, this is not a final process; it is a process that never ends because organizations change as much as society itself does.


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